I put Orangetheory to the test.

SPOILER ALERT: All of the amazing things you’ve heard are true.


Ah, Orangetheory. The studio that seems like Barry’s Bootcamp’s second cousin twice removed. Right? Well, that was at least my initial assumption until I tried the workout for myself this week!

Orangetheory’s new East 39th St studio invited me to join them for a class and I couldn’t resist giving this uber-popular workout a try. I’ve heard the most amazing things about it, from the neat fitness-meets-tech experience to the atmosphere and camaraderie, to the ass-kicking grueling workout itself. I was ready for them to both bring the pain and blow me away and trust me, they sure did. Oh yeah, did I mention that you burn anywhere from 500-1000 calories a class? Or what about the fact that the class is strategically designed so you’ll continue to burn those babies for up to 36 hours after toweling off?! (Lemme get a pizza, I’m still starving!) Keep reading to get ITK about OTF!

Tell me more!

Let’s start with the workout. Like the Barry’s workout, you swap back and forth between treadmills and strength training on the floor. There’s also a rower involved (ugh.) I started on the treadmills, and my group warmed up with some light jogging, while the other half of the crew started getting their heart rates up on the rowers. After a few minutes, we swapped. THEN, we swapped again, but this time the original rowing group went over to the floor for strength training while my group started to bust out our “base paces” on the treadmills. Each treadmill has a small diagram indicating what incline you should be on, and at what speed you should be walking or running based on your fitness level, which I thought was super cool. The treadmill half of the workout consisted of 3 rounds of different speed intervals, which were dictated by the instructor, Robert. He was absolutely amazing, and not only did he make it easy to follow along, but he brought such great energy and tons of encouragement to the room. #GOODVIBESONLY.  Not to mention his music was on point. Although the love may have started to fizzle out a tad considering my legs felt like they were starting to detach from the rest of my body when he had me sprinting at a casual 10 MPH.

While we’re working on the treads, the rest of the class was cycling through strength training circuits on the floor. Some of the moves included squats with shoulder presses, mountain climbers, front lateral raises, and jumping lunges. Each circuit had 3 moves to be repeated nonstop until the round was over. I loved the seamless transition from one workout to the other. I didn’t feel rushed or overwhelmed, which is a huge plus. The best part about the floor work, however, is the fact that they have huge screens that show you the moves and the amount of reps you should be doing. Maybe you didn’t have enough coffee. Maybe you’ve just had a long week. Or maybe working out is pure torture and it’s hard to focus on anything else aside from the pain. Regardless of your distractions, you’ll never forget what moves your doing and how they’re supposed to look! Amazing.

Technology and science meets fitness

What really makes the workout unique is the science and technology behind it. If you’ve heard of OTF, odds are you’ve seen the huge, very public multi-colored screens above the treadmills. The real time data on the board corresponds with your heart rate, which is tracked by a monitor you wear on your body. I LOVED being able to see exactly what was going on with my body every step of the way. Full disclosure: I also loved comparing my performance with other people’s performances because I’m competitive SORRY ‘BOUT IT. Before I say anymore, let’s break it down further. There are five zones, each which corresponds with both a specific heart rate range and with a color you see on the board. The goal is to stay in the green and orange zones, especially the orange, which they have dubbed the “Orange Effect” If you experience the Orange Effect, you’re physically uncomfortable and you’re working at 84-91% of your max heart rate. In other words, you’re movin’ & you’re groovin’ . This is also the threshold where you tap into the “after-burn effect”, which means you burn calories for hours afterwards. OTF suggests striving to stay in this range for 12 or more minutes (I did not- see results below…)

And what’s the deal with those “Splat Points?”

The so-called Splat Points tell you exactly how many minutes you spent in the orange zone. So, yes, you want these points and as many of them as possible! You should be aiming for 12 per class for optimal results!

Final thoughts!

Like I said, I loved being able to track my status in real time! Being able to see exactly how I was doing and knowing exactly what goals I should be striving for kept me super motivated. The science and technology that Orangetheory utilizes will also guarantee that you improve with each and every visit, so say farewell to fitness plateaus! You also get a workout summary email detailing all of your stats after every class. Boom!

Orangetheory memberships are a thing, and there are three relatively affordable options starting at $59 a month. On average, you can take a drop-in class sans membership for $35 (NYC market!) Regardless of your interest, you should definitely call your local studio and confirm the prices with them! If you’re in the NYC area, I would DEFINITELY hit up the East 39th street studio- the staff is absolutely fantastic and the facility is massive! You’ll enjoy every second you’re there (except when you’re running your “all-out” treadmill intervals….)


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